KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
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- KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
P.O. Box 7700
1117 ZL Schiphol
- Main hub
- Amsterdam Schiphol Airport
- Business model
- Full Service Carrier
- Domestic | International
- Airline Group
- Part of Air France-KLM S.A.
- Joined Alliance
- Association Membership
- Codeshare Partners
- Aer Lingus
Air Europa Lineas Aereas
China Eastern Airlines
China Southern Airlines
Comair (South Africa)
CSA Czech Airlines
Delta Air Lines
Ukraine International Airlines
Based in Amsterdam, KLM is the national airline of the Netherlands. Part of the Air France-KLM Group, KLM operates an extensive network which includes services within Europe and to Asia, Africa, North America, Central and South America and the Middle East. KLM is a founding member of the SkyTeam alliance.
Location of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines main hub (Amsterdam Schiphol Airport)
2,544 total articles
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The last of Europe's stock market-listed airlines recently reported financial results for 2014, providing the opportunity to compare levels of profitability. Ranking them by operating margin, there is a wide range of performance from healthy double digit to negative figures.
LCCs typically performed better than legacy airlines. Most of the higher margin airlines improved in 2014, while most of those at the lower end of the scale suffered a fall in margins. Convergence of business models does not show itself in convergence of financial performance.
Beyond the listed airlines, Europe has a large number of mainly small and unprofitable airlines, which drag down the aggregate margin of the continent's airline sector. Europe's traffic growth and load factors are relatively healthy by world standards, but its margins are held back by its fragmented market structure.
Air France-KLM is seeking to have similar tenure in Asia to what it has across the Atlantic. Europe-Asia routes have not developed the same depth in partnerships as Europe-North America, but they growing – and AF-KLM is being left behind. IAG and Finnair are with JAL and IAG is also likely to partner with Qatar Airways in a JV. Lufthansa has a JV with ANA and a proposal with Air China, in addition to using new long-haul LCC unit Eurowings to spur growth. Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines have Europe-focused partnerships with Qatar and Turkish Airlines respectively. ANA may partner with Turkish as well. Korean Air has an evolving partnership with Czech Airlines.
AF-KLM meanwhile has a loose partnership with Etihad Airways for greater Asia (and beyond) access but a JV has yet to emerge despite much talk. A longstanding AF-JAL partnership is declining as key codeshares end. KLM has a new partnership with Xiamen Airlines, which will make Amsterdam one of its inaugural intercontinental routes. The relationship is delicate, and Xiamen is majority-owned by China Southern, which is expected to bring its A380 to Amsterdam, creating further over-capacity. Another opportunity is for cooperation with Malaysia Airlines, which is restructuring and could benefit from greater partnership access.
Air France-KLM back to operating loss; warns lower fuel may be offset by low unit revenue & currency
Air France-KLM marked its first decade with a return to loss at the operating level in 2014. A pilot strike over the development of LCC Transavia took EUR425 million off the operating result, which would otherwise have been positive and higher than in 2013. The dispute was settled and Air France-KLM's generally good history of labour relations suggests that it is unlikely to be repeated in 2015.
Nevertheless, the settlement required management to compromise its plans for Transavia and this may make it harder to push through further important restructuring across the group. Moreover, even without the impact of the strike, the year was characterised by ongoing unit revenue weakness, particularly in long-haul markets such as Latin America.
Air France-KLM does not see this market environment improving. Indeed, it has suggested that the benefits of lower fuel prices in 2015 may all be eaten up by falling unit revenue and currency movements. The group has abandoned its previous EBITDAR growth targets, but is cutting its investment plans and is accelerating its unit cost reduction. There is more turbulence ahead.
The economic backdrop in Western Europe was sluggish in 2014 and remains fragile into 2015. In particular, the eurozone nations continue to struggle to recover fully from the global recession. A Jan-2015 poll of economists conducted by the Financial Times suggests that most experts expect GDP growth in the eurozone to be around only 1% in 2015.
This is a little better than 2014, but well short of the cyclical peak growth rates in excess of 3% that have not been seen since 2007.
For 2015, the two most important strategic issues facing Western Europe’s legacy airlines, particularly the Big Three flag carrier groups, will be restructuring in their core businesses and maximising their low-cost vehicles.
Alitalia's new-found Asia strategy appears to be stimulating competitive responses. Alitalia has announced new services to Seoul, a return to China and expanded services to Japan. More Asian markets could be on their way. After much delay, Korean Air will double its presence in Italy by de-coupling Milan and Rome, served on a triangular routing, and then increasing capacity.
Korean Air has carried 25% of the Korea-Italy market, so it has left much traffic to others, mostly to sixth freedom airlines like Lufthansa and other Europeans. Alitalia part owner Etihad hopes Alitalia's eastwards expansion will allow it to claw back at the gains Lufthansa and other carriers have made in Italy.
Growth from China to Italy looks more organic than competitive. Air China will become the largest airline in the Italy-Asia market while the China-Italy market will welcome a third Chinese player as Hainan Airlines starts twice-weekly Chongqing-Rome service.
Alitalia has announced a new strategy to accompany its newest incarnation, following Etihad Airways' acquisition of a 49% stake in the Italian airline from 1-Jan-2015. The strategy includes the aim to return the company to profit in 2017, after a long period of losses. The five main elements of Alitalia's strategy focus on the network, cooperation with partner airlines, the fleet, "guest services" and the brand.
Alitalia's statement does not contain much of consequence that has not previously been flagged. Rather, it reiterates adjustments to its network designed to complement that of Etihad.
There will be less direct flying to Africa, a little more to Asia and a lot more to the Middle East to feed Etihad's hub. Alitalia will also increase its operations in the Americas and in Europe, where Etihad's own presence is smaller.
The crucial question that the statement does not address is how Alitalia will go about changing the mindset, developed over many years, that regards perpetual losses as the norm. Even if the necessary cuts can be achieved, such an entrenched culture is not easily redirected. Yet, for Alitalia, this is surely the last throw of the dice.